The big kids come out to play Friday, minus, of couse, the ones whose matches have been called off, which includes the Big Ten battle between Minnesota and Wisconsin and the highly anticipated series between Washington vs. Washington State in the Pac-12.
The SEC finally has a showcase match as Kentucky, ranked No. 3 in the AVCA poll and unbeaten between its matches in the fall and spring, goes to No. 7 Florida. Also in the SEC, Tennessee is at Alabama, Texas A&M is at Missouri, South Carolina is at Arkansas, and Georgia is at LSU.
The ACC has Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, Miami at Duke, Wake Forest at North Carolina, and Clemson at NC State. Florida State at Virginia was canceled and Thursday Virginia fired the coaching staff. The story follows.
In the Big 12, Baylor stays in Houston to play at Rice of Conference USA, West Virginia is at Delaware of the Colonial Athletic Association, and Texas Tech is at SMU of the American Athletic.
Other matches of note include the Big South leader, unbeaten High Point, taking on second-place Charleston Southern, which is a game back; the MAC’s Bowling Green, trying to extend its unbeaten season and best start in school history when it plays host to Akron; Mountain West leader UNLV playing host to San Jose State; and Kansas City at South Dakota in a battle of the Summit League’s top two teams.
The MIVA slate shows Ohio State at Purdue Fort Wayne, Ball State at Quincy, McKendree at Loyola, and Lewis at Lindenwood.
In the EIVA, Penn State is at NJIT, Saint Francis is at Charleston, and Sacred Heart is at George Mason.
And in Conference Carolinas, Belmont Abbey is at Erskine and North Greenville is at Emmanuel.
Want to watch a match? We’ve got the links in the VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings.
VIRGINIA FIRES STAFF — This was the news release from the ACC school:
“Virginia director of athletics Carla Williams announced today (March 18) the Cavaliers’ volleyball staff, including head coach Aaron Smith, have been relieved of their duties. On March 17, Williams announced the staff had been placed on paid administrative leave during a review of a personnel matter.
As a result of these actions, UVA is cancelling the remainder of its 2020-21 season. Virginia (2-12, 0-11) had four road matches remaining on its spring schedule.
“While I am unable to comment on the details,” Williams said, “I do want to commend our student-athletes for their leadership and express my gratitude for how they have handled a very difficult situation. We will continue to support them as our program moves forward.”
Virginia will immediately begin a national search to fill the head coaching position.
Smith, in his four year in Charlottesville, had seasons of 7-24, 8-20, and 13-18 in 2019, 5-13 in the ACC.
BIG 12 — Baylor (17-4) won at Houston (12-3) of the American Athletic Conference 19-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-9, 15-10. Yossiana Pressley led with 19 kills, three assists, 17 digs and three blocks, one solo. Lauren Harrison had 15 kills and two blocks, and setters Callie Williams and Hannah Sedwick combined for three kills in eight errorless attempts, 50 assists, and 25 digs. Williams had five of her team’s six aces. Houston’s Abbie Jackson had 18 kills, an assist, a solo block, and eight digs. Kendall Haywood had nine kills and seven blocks, three solo, and Rachel Tullos had five kills and seven blocks, one solo. Annie Cook had three kills in seven errorless attempts, 37 assists, an ace, two blocks, and 14 digs …
TCU (2-14) broke a 12-match losing streak as the Horned Frogs won in four at Texas State (27-8) of the Sun Belt, which lost its fifth in a row. Mykayla Myers had 13 kills with two errors in 22 attacks to hit .500 and she had four blocks and two digs. Katie Clark had 12 kills, a dig, and nine blocks, three solo. Texas State’s Kenedi Rutherford had 13 kills … Kansas (9-10) won in four at Wichita State (8-6) of the American Athletic. Anezka Szabo led with 15 kills as she hit .448 after having two errors in 29 attacks to go with a block and six digs. Jenny Mosser had 11 kills, an assist, a block, and 15 digs. Wichita State’s Emma Wright had 12 kills with no errors in 24 attacks and four blocks.
WEST COAST — Pepperdine (12-2, 12-1) won its fifth in a row, a sweep of visiting Loyola Marymount (5-8). Rachel Ahrens led with 18 kills and had an ace and five digs. Shannon Scully had 14 kills with one error in 24 attacks to hit .542 and she had an assist, two aces, two blocks, and 11 digs. The Waves hit .317. LMU’s Kari Geissberger had 12 kills and two blocks …
Saint Mary’s (7-7) beat visiting Santa Clara (3-6) in four. Elena Baka led with 17 kills, an assist, an ace, and 10 digs, and Chandler Cowell had 16 kills, hit .351, and had an assist, an ace, a block, and 11 digs. SC’s Julia Sangiacomo had 17 kills, two assists, three blocks, and nine digs. Sophia Tullis had 15 kills, an ace, a block, and 12 digs.
BIG SOUTH — All three matches Thursday were sweeps as USC Upstate beat visiting UNC Asheville, Campbell did the same to Presbyterian, and Winthrop won at Radford.
SOUTHLAND — Abilene Christian, Northwestern State, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi did the same at Nicholls State, while the other matches all went four with Stephen F. Austin beating Central Arkansas, Sam Houston winning at McNeese, UIW won at New Orleans, and Southeastern Louisiana beat Houston Baptist. SFA and Sam Houston are tied for the lead at 8-1, while surprising Southeastern Louisiana is 7-2 and three teams — Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Abilene Christian, and Houston Baptist — stand 6-3.
AROUND THE NATION — Elon of the Colonial Athletic Association swept the Southern Conference’s UNCG … In the Metro Atlantic, Fairfield won twice at Niagara, while Manhattan split with Siena … Alcorn won its SWAC match in four against visiting Texas Southern.
MEN — Loyola (10-3, 6-3) swept its MIVA match over visiting McKendree (8-2, 7-2) as Luke Denton and Colton Brooks had 12 kills each and the Ramblers hit .327. Denton had five digs and three blocks and Brooks hit .400 and had an assist, an ace, 10 digs, and a block …
Mount Olive of Conference Carolinas was swept by Queens.